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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2000 May 31;78(1-2):196-200.

Developmental changes in the expression of NMDA receptor subunits (NR1, NR2A, NR2B) in the cat visual cortex and the effects of dark rearing.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Health Sciences Center, University of Louisville, School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40292, USA.


The present study used Western blots to determine changes in the level of expression of the three major NMDA receptor subunits, NR1, NR2A, and NR2B, in relation to the 'critical period' in cat visual cortex. NR2A rose dramatically (10-fold) from very low levels at 1 week to a peak at 5 weeks and gradually declined into adulthood (twofold). NR2B showed a similar time course to NR2A, but the rise from 1 to 5 weeks was of lesser magnitude (twofold). NR1 was expressed at comparable levels at 1, 5, 10 weeks and declined markedly (fivefold) in older animals. No significant effects of dark rearing on the levels of NR2B and NR1 were found. However, NR2A expression was significantly elevated in normal compared to dark reared visual cortex (twofold) at 5 weeks and significantly elevated in dark reared compared to normal visual cortex at 20 weeks (twofold). The close agreement between NR2A expression and both the time course of the critical period and the effects of dark rearing on that time course further indicates a role of this subunit in visual cortical critical period plasticity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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